September was the busiest month I’ve had since Peace Corps training two years ago. Here are the highlights:
Close of Service Conference: Peace Corps had us in Windhoek for four days to prepare us for the end of our service. It was mostly paperwork and logistical crap but there were a few sentimental moments too... although they won't compare to saying goodbye to my Namibian family and friends.
AIDS Club Workshop: I helped facilitate a 2-day workshop for 13-16 year-old kids from around Oshikoto Region. These kids were chosen to head up AIDS Clubs at their schools. These clubs are designed to inform young people about the dangers of HIV/AIDS... of course... but also to learn leadership skills and have some fun (fun pictured). Many of the kids came from villages and had difficulty with English, especially our American accents,
but we facilitated alongside multi-lingual Namibians so it worked out fine.
Tsumeb Family Support Centre (TFSC) Spring Walk: TFSC is the new name for the centre where I work. We merged with The Women and Child Centre to form our new organisation. We’re having considerable financial difficulties so we decided to raise money through this event. We walked about 5kms with a police escort. We then had refreshments and games for the kids in the park afterwards. The pony rides, tug-of-war and sack races were a hit. We managed to raise a little money and had a good time.
Support Group Sewing Continues: Our support group has really kicked it into gear. I’m handing over all the responsibility to them step by step. They now have group positions, responsibilities, keys and soon control of the bank account. In Octoberthey will show off their dresses at the biggest party of the year, Tsumeb Copper Festival. I’ll let you know how that goes.
Male Engagement Workshop: This one took up most of my time in September. I basically organised it on my own. Male Engagement is a program addressing gender norms, gender inequality and how they relate to community problems like violence, alcohol abuse and HIV. I really like this material and I love the discussions we get from it. When you boil it down what we’re really talking about is how men’s behaviour toward women is often the root of our community problems. I think the format it’s presented in allows men and women to be honest about what’s going on without disrespecting each other. We had 15 attendees (pictured) from different government ministries, religious organisations and the Namibian Police. They came with a range of conservative and liberal views, but I think we managed to pull off a pretty constructive two days.
I couldn’t have done it without my good friend Udi (pictured). I tend to stress out about small details, but that’s hard to do when Udi’s just smiling and enjoying the whole thing. I owe him a lot.